Charlotte O’Neil Oliver died May 24. She was 85. The following was provided by her family.
Charlotte passed peacefully at her home in Vero Beach, Florida. She was surrounded by her three sons, Edward (Ted) of Victor, Idaho, Stoddard (Stoddy) of Bedford Hills, New York, George (Geep) of Sewickley, Pennsylvania; and her beloved miniature dachshunds, Tulip and Taffy.
Charlotte, affectionately known as “Cha Cha,” was born in Pittsburgh on June 3, 1936. The only child of Edward and Lydia O’Neil, she was raised in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and attended Sewickley Academy. Charlotte is an alumna of Garrison Forest School in Baltimore and Bennett College in Millbrook, New York.
From the age of 16, Charlotte spent her summers in Beaumaris, Ontario, on Lake Muskoka. Golf, tennis, waterskiing, fishing, dock tanning and socializing were daily activities. She shared countless fond memories and friendships with both American and Canadian families that were kept near and dear to her heart for over 65 years.
As a young adult, Charlotte lived and worked in New York City. She married her first husband, Morgan (Morry) Oliver of Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, and moved to Rumson, New Jersey. Following their divorce, Charlotte and her sons moved to Katonah, New York. It was there that she focused her energy on her home life, abundant social life, and dedicated community service, most notably advocating for female inmates at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and volunteering at Northern Westchester Hospital. During this time she thrived as a travel agent.
In Katonah, Charlotte met and married her second husband, Peter Van Akin, taking on the new role of stepmother to Darcy (predeceased), Tracy (Greenwich, Connecticut), and Diane (Madison, Connecticut). Now with a bursting and bustling household, Charlotte’s plate was fuller than ever and she cherished it. She and her stepdaughters remained close throughout her lifetime.
While on a ski trip in Sun Valley, Charlotte met F. Ronald (Buz) Dimond (predeceased). That meeting became a 30-plus year companionship. Charlotte and Buz shared countless travel adventures together and frequently invited friends and family members to join them. Two places they frequented to escape the cold were Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Vero Beach, Florida.
For over three decades Charlotte’s home in Wilson was the magical backdrop for memorable family holidays and vacations. Nothing brought her greater joy than time spent indulging her children and grandchildren, not to mention all of the “pets” on the property, most notably three Mexican burros and a rescue steer named Clyde who enjoyed snacking on Fig Newtons. She was also very active in local museums, charities and foundations. If it was for a good cause, Charlotte wanted to be involved.
Indubitably unique, Charlotte will be remembered for her intoxicating personality and abundantly generous heart. Caring and genuine, she engaged and endeared herself to people of all ages in all places. Charlotte had a wide network of treasured friends with whom she golfed, skied, dined, traveled and played bridge. She loved to be in the company of others and entertained often. From large parties and intimate gatherings to impromptu family dinners, volumes of lasting memories were most assuredly made wherever and whenever Charlotte was at the helm.
An enthusiastic fan of Broadway musicals, the New York Times crossword, ice cream cones and the New York Yankees, Charlotte was especially passionate for all things outdoors. She chased the sun, pursued a physically active lifestyle, and relished remote, natural landscapes where she could hike and horseback ride. Charlotte could routinely be found skiing the challenging terrain beneath the towering Teton Range and cruising the Canadian waters of Lake Muskoka in her prized mahogany boat.
Charlotte lived an extraordinary life at full tilt. Especially loved, she will be greatly missed by her devoted family and close friends. She was a truly remarkable woman and leaves a wonderful legacy in her wake.
In addition to Charlotte’s sons and stepdaughters, she is survived by daughter in-law Catherine E Oliver (Stoddard); grandchildren John Morgan Oliver, Edward O’Neil Oliver Jr., George Potter Oliver Jr., Lydia Harper Oliver, Henry Morgan Oliver, Felix Augustus Oliver; step-grandson William Gray DeTeso; and great-grandson Xander Oliver.
The family would like to recognize and express their eternal gratitude to Charlotte’s compassionate caregivers in Vero Beach. Their tireless, dedicated commitment to Charlotte over the last few years was nothing short of a blessing.
Details of a memorial service will be provided at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Foundation (HealthMuskoka.ca) or the Teton Raptor Center (TetonRaptorCenter.org).